St. Bernardus Abt 12 | Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV

2,764 Reviews
St. Bernardus Abt 12St. Bernardus Abt 12

Brewed by:
Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV

Style: Quadrupel (Quad)

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 10.00%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 10-14-2001

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Reviews: 2,764 | Ratings: 9,397
Photo of dhilltop2000
4.7/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours dark plum, leathery consisantcy with light off-white head. The head is rather foamy when looking at the glass from the side. The top, however, is deceivingly thick looking. Underneath the initial 1/18" of dense head is a semi-large diameter bubbly-like honeycomb which supports the thick top layer. At first note smells of fig, plum, banana crème pie, and a hint of vanilla are noteded. Very complex, however the taste is within to the realm of the above smells. Again, quite complex. Belgian lace subsides quickly. Great beer - Among the best -

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Photo of MiScusi
4.47/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at Lucky Baldwin's in Pasadena, dense off white head as you would expect which sticks around for a bit on top of thick dark brown body. The aroma shoots out of the glass and stuns your senses as your nose approaches the glass for a whiff. Lots of prunes, and sour yeast with a tad bit of alcohol to it. The taste contains lots of dark malts and fruit. A small amount of chocolate in the finish was detectable with the grape fruit and alcohol, which is slightly present.

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Photo of MaltyGoodness
4.17/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

750ml bottle

Pours a murky deep chestnut brown with a creamy tan head that endures. Thick lacing on the glass.

Aroma is very yeasty and bready with a rich dark fruitiness. A slight booziness is also lurking in the shadows.

Very yeasty and bready upfront with nice dark fruity flavors. A warming booziness eases in and rides through the finish which is sweet and rather clean.

Creamy texture, nicely carbonated.

This is very drinkable considering the ABV. It's certainly a fine brew and I can see why it gets a lot of praise.

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Photo of mcallister
4/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had this draught last night at the Boston's Bistro in Dayton O. I prefer this beer aged a few years is the conclusion I now have.

Burnt ginger bread color with a thick creamy off white head. A viscous lace is left behind.

Spicy, malty, toffee aromas. Some sweet earthy fig, and brown sugar notes are also in the nose.

Big, chewy, and rich. Good amount of alcohol in the throat and chest. Nice balance but not as complex as I like this beer after laying down a few years. Burnt malts, with a mid palate burst of dried fig. A prune flavored finish, with hints of brown sugar and toffee. Finish lasts a good 30 seconds.

Mouthfeel is rich and creamy. Drinkability is above average considering the nice alcohol burn.

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Photo of seedee17
4.62/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Let this warm up to almost room temp. and poured into a chalice. This beer is a deep brown with a ruby hue, nice big tan head that leaves nice lace on the glass. The aromas from the beer are outstanding, caramel, fruit, a hint of alcohol, raisins, grain, mossy earth, wow. The flavors are equally interesting with a huge caramel flavor coupled with some pleasant spice and dried fruit flavors, rock candy. The alcohol warms the belly and cheeks, but is really well hidden among the big flavors. Finishes fairly dry with a little alcohol flavor. The mouthfeel is great, really silky and smooth with just enough carbonation to keep it lively. Overall an outstanding beer, with all of the flavors and aromas coming together to make a supremely drinkable quad.

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Photo of coltrane4me
4.77/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured 33cl bottle into a chalice.

Pours a beautiful, rich dark brown with a wispy foam head. Leaves a considerable amount of lace.

Taste and drinkability were excellent; has a dark, rich taste - the 10.5 % ABV is cleverly disguised behind the bold fruit tastes up front. A true pleasure to drink.

An exceptional beer that lived up to the hype.

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Photo of BurnsTau
4.55/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Pours deep brown, generous amount of head which never goes below about a finger.

Smells definitely sweet. Fruitiness with an alchohol backing.

Taste is sweet, malty. Grapes, syrupy sugars, and a warming alchohol which is somewhat comforting come through most prominent. Mouthfeel and body are a bit light and creamy, very pleasant.

This is one of my first introductions to this type of beer and right off the bat it was immensely enjoyable. Definitely a very good beer and I will be drinking this one again.

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Photo of FranklinPCombs
4.67/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Nice muted fig color with a deep brown glow. Head is very thick and bubbly, yet without much protein. Delicate lacing up and down, head subsiding to a thick film. Smell is big on medium body savory malts, perfectly balanced fruit notes ranging from cherry and plum to apple, and a nice earthy sweetness. Yeast and phenol are definitelly in there, but it took me a good couple minutes to find them. Spices range from orange to clove. The alcohol definitely compliments the aroma, rather than overpowering it. There are so many layers in the smell alone, I spent a good five minutes just with my nose stuck in the snifter, inhaling deeply and finding something new each time. Taste is held together with a great deep malt backbone, supporting a rich brown sweetness, with a bigger emphasis on spice than on fruitiness. There are definite figgy hints, but more so are the savory spices. Peppercorn, mustard and other unidentifiable tastes glaze over a nice meaty center. The taste is not quite as layered and complex as the smell, but even falling short of that leaves it above most anything I've had. Mouthfeel is great, with an initial bite of carbonation that follows halfway back the tongue, then suddenly drops away for a smooth silky back. This is a real adventure to drink, going down smooth and easy, with so much to offer on the way. I only wish there was a category for 'smellability' because this beer would take my gold for that. [Also, looking forward to picking up a growler of this on tap for my brother's birthday (a great present that gives right back!)]

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Photo of Herrless
4.7/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I had this on tap last night at the Firkin in Libertyville after I saw my co-worker drinking one. It looked so good that I had to try it.

This is the highest rating I have given to a beer yet. I don't believe in giving a beer all 5's but it was very tempting with this one. The best way to describe this beer is "WOW". I am a big fan of Belgian Ales, Chimay, Delirium etc, but I think this is the best of them all. I have to go back and have another.

It was served to me in a ST. Bernardus chalice. The pour was very dark with a beautiful one or two finger head. This beer is very complex; fruit, hops, alchohol all are present. But most of all it is smooth and very drinkable. It was gone before I knew it.

I will definately pick up a couple of the 750ml bottles to try at home. And as I said, I have to go back to the bar to enjoy this again. Maybe I should take my time drinking the next one.

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Photo of clickpush
4.21/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pour: 33cl bottle to wide mouth goblet. Pours a ruby or cherry wood colored beer with tons of bubbles streaming throughout the glass. A healthy two finger pillowy light tan head cap the brew and it's very resistant, clinging to the glass wherever possible as it goes down, and never really disappears from the surface, leaving a quarter inch frothy layer on top.

Nose: Yeast, sourdough bread, oranges, grapes, clove, anise... really enjoyable, sweet & complex, but a tad too faint. Also, as the beer warms I was getting lungs full of alcohol fumes.

Mouth: Enters biscuity and yeasty, spicy and sweet, grape flavors, creamy clove and possibly chocolate, fruity esters. The mouthfeel is a bit disappointing, tingly upon entering then thick and creamy at the end, retaining a bit too much gas, making the swallow a bit hard. Hops don't add much flavor here but serve to keep the malts in order.

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Photo of danielocean03
4.2/5  rDev -5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a deep, hazy brown similar to that of an apple cider into a wine glass. Head is a khaki tan that fades to a moderate sticky ring of lacing along with a light coating on the top. Aroma is fruity, mostly ripe, dark fruit paired with a caramel sweetness with some earthier undertones, some spice notes, warm sugary alcohols finish out the nose. Taste is sweet, candied dry fruit, caramel, malt, light alcohol notes and a similar earthiness of the nose present as well. Sweetness increases as it warms, fruitier profile emerges as well, taste some cinnamon/nutmeg like spiciness as the fruits fade off the tongue. Light sweet and dry aftertaste. Mouthfeel is medium bodied with very low carbonation, slides down the throat. Drinkability is high, given the intriguing complexity and character of this Quad, hardly hints at it's nearly 11% abv. Overall an impressive beer I'd recommend to try at least once, a rewarding experience. Will likely purchase again.

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Photo of Neehan
4.45/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

When deciding which beer I would choose to be my first review, I finally chose this to be the one... and I am confident in my selection. Enjoying this beer begins with the aroma of apples and a hint of other fruits complimented by the dark auburn appearance with a large frothy head. The taste and finish completely mask the alcohol. A sweet, fruity taste with a very crisp and pure mouthfeel make this an exceptional treat that I highly recommend.

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Photo of benito
2.87/5  rDev -35.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

I'm not sure why this is categorized as a Quad, as its flavors sit squarely in the world of Dubbels. Anyhow, I should point out that Dubbels are probably my least favorite style of beer (with the notable exception of Goose Island's Pere Jacques...mmm). For whatever reason I struggle with the mix of fruity sweet and miscellania, so take my review with a grain of salt.

This is a brownish, amber brew with a small head and good lacing. The bouquet and flavor both are dominated by flouride like flavors--call it bubblegum or mint--and in both cases, the sweetness is backed up by a nice salty dryness. In the bouquet, this is mostly a sea-water quality and in taste, more of a alcohol flavor. The mouthfeel is soapy--sweet and then dry, though bubbly and effervescent throughout. Unfortunately, it doesn't do much to aid a rather thin body and flimsy length. I honestly don't care for this beer that much, though again, I recognize that as a quirk of my palate and some sort of strange prejudice against this style.

This is certainly not in my Top 100 beers, but for folks who dig dubbels, I would recommend this, maybe even highly.

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Photo of Delerium
5/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A beautiful dark dubbel, that tastes like a quad. I swear if this beer was aged, it would turn into Westy12. Nice, dark look with a sweet belge glaze. Smells nutty and musty. Taste is incredible, by far my favorite dubbel. Mothfeel is lively and effervescent. Drinkability: I could session this beer at 10% in alchol all day and have no worries. It's that damn good! Can't wait for the 60th anniversary!

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Photo of dherling
4.79/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

What a friendly little monk on my bottle of beer. I had no idea I was about to be in for such a treat. I popped the cork like it was a champagne bottle, not hollywood style, but slowly, so as to let out a small slow hiss. This poured true, not like some other high ABV malt monsters that run thick or syrupy. There was a nice foamy white head that brought a little hop oil to the surface for me to breathe in, as well as some yeast to look at. It is a rare beer that can whollop you with flavor without killing you with its alcohol an dpotential heavyness, but this pulled off that feat. It has tremendous layers for you to go through and enjoy from toffee through stone fruit flavors, with some vanilla rounding off the edge. Much like the pour, it drank clean. I could have a few of these in one sitting, but I don't reccomend lightweights trying that. An instant classic for me.

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Photo of brewandbbq
4.44/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

11.2 oz bottle, unknown vintage, purchased recently

Pours murky mahogany with a lively, spritzy head.
Foam is airy and beige, with very little retention.
An odd pattern of dot-work was the last to remain on the surface before nothingness.
No lace or curtain remains.
Fruits drizzeled with caramel and dark rum in the nose.
Warming and slightly sweet, with candied apple and a hint of vanila and raisins.
Medium body and a bit sticky, with a slight oilyness.
Rummy and chocolately pallet underscored with fruit and toffee.
Finishes warming with fading rum and raisins.
There was something lacking on this one, it seemed a bit "dead" for lack of a better term. Perhaps the 750's are better.

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Photo of GClarkage
4.3/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

08/01/06- Purchased at Bottleworks in Seattle, WA.

Presentation- 750ml bottle, not sure from what year. Purchased in September 2005, so probably either 2004 or 2005. Poured into my St. Bernardus chalice.

Appearance- Deep brown in color. A bit of a auburn highlight. Full inch head, very large bubbled and foamy. Excellent chunks and streak of lace left behind. Furious as hell pop from the cork. I thought it was going to explode, it was that loud.

Smell- At first very fruity. Then it turned into a very sweet and caramel scented malt mixture. Kinda like cookie dough, but more like dulce de leche. Seems kinda earthy. Whatever it is, it smells increasingly better as it warms into above room temp. Started out at about 50, and finished it off at about 60-65.

Taste- At first sip it had a somewhat offputting metallic taste. This went away bit by bit as it was consumed. As it warms (key is to drink it at room temp at the coolest) it brings in a really nice ultra sweet candied malt flavor. That mixed with plims, prunes, raisins and figs make it very tastefull. It has a very earthy and irony taste that could be past for metallic, but I think it's more earthy and dirt like. Kinda a newbie to this style...still trying to figure them out.

Mouthfeel- Higher carbonated than I would like, but it calmed down after a good 30 minutes of resting in the chalice.

Drinkability- Probably my top ranked Quad. Was very nice to the tastebuds. What I wouldn't fo for a beer like this on cask. Or at least on tap. Have past it up at the Toronado many times because I knew I had a few bottles at home I was waiting to try. Quality beer for sure. Glad I have a few more smaller bottles to save for later on. Nice to know it can be aged for 15 years according to the script on the back of the bottle. Recommended.

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Photo of cproioi
4.08/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer poured a nice dark brown body with a huge fluffy tan head that had loads of retention. It also had bits of yeast particles floating in it. Holding the glass to my nose I smell a very sweet raisiny aroma that is coupled big a huge alcohol scent. The taste. ah yes my favorite thing about this beer. This beer had a huge taste of raisins that gave this beer of faulty impression that it was overlly sweet with a load of sugars left behind. However, the mouth feel was extremely dry. With the raisin taste I expected there to be a sugary build up on my tounge then I realized no this finishes extremely dry with none of the sugar build up. Even with the abv being high I really could not detect it. This made the drinkability a little too easy and a beer I would definitly buy again.

*With a little more aging the beer developes a much more nutty taste to it.

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Photo of peabody
4.32/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

While the taste was warm and clean and sweet and the color was beautiful, the sediment in the bottom of the glass threw me off. I can understand why it is so high on the BA list. Although I thought it was nice , I thought the Brasserie du Rocs was a better all around beer. This is a first review for me and looking at all the great reviews I appologize for not knowing all about what flavors I am tasting and smelling.

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Photo of Estarrio
4.23/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a dark blood red with an off-white, medium frothy head. Retention is moderate, giving way to full, yet watery lacings.

Aroma is malt, flowers and esters. The smells are not quite as intense as I had anticipated.

Well-carbonated, full-bodied brew. Taste is of sweet malt caramel, toffee, vanilla, dark fruits, slightly bitter hops and distinct alcohol presence throughout. The flavors are complex, as a quad should be. There is a big cherry taste that I found to be more distinct than any other flavor.

This beer fell slightly short of my high expectations, based on the Trappiste quads. I'm going to review again with an aged beer a fresh open mind.

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Photo of barefootbrewer
4.38/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This poured a deep amber color with a thick persistent head. The smell is a bit sweet with a nice touch of hops. The taste is incredibly well balanced and a great example of a Belgian beer. The mouthfeel is full and chewy with a slight orange like aftertaste that comes through after swallowed. As far as drinkability goes, this should be savored as often as possible!

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Photo of bigdeuce
4.12/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

There are so many flavors in this brew it is unreal. Bananas, cardimon, cinamon, dry ripened plums, maybe some cherries. An outstanding beer. Only problem with this one is, it has a very whiskey booziness that is noticeable. I also believe this drinks more like a belgian strong dark than a quad. Other than that, an outstanding brew. Nice lacing down the tulip. Can't drink too many, may put someone into an eternal sleep. Highly recommeded.

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Photo of kdmorse
4.67/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A: 11.2 oz in a Duvel tulip glass. One thick finger of beige head topping the chocolate-colored body. Head slowly fades to a creamy film. Looks slightly murky and does not allow a ray of light through. Tiny bubbles are visible rushing to the surface near the edges. Lacing hangs around well.

S: Complex malt body. Lots of sweet fruit: apples, raisins, dates, pears, and anything else you could want. No need for hops here.

T: So many flavors merging into a nearly perfect final taste. Tart fruits meeting sweet caramel malt. More flavors than I can pick out and list. Alcohol is not as present as I would expect.

M/D: Mouthcoating and creamy. Carbonation is perfect, the tiniest of bubbles. As heavy and coating as it is, rinses very clean without harsh hops. Drinkability is unique. Alcohol seems very low. Very inviting, but the flavors are so complex that the tastebuds need a rest. Not a refreshing beer, but a perfect beer to sit and think with.

Notes: Not a huge fan of big Belgian beers (Belgian strong dark, dubbels, trippels, quads, etc.) but this is amazing. Will never be a nightly drink for me, but I could drink this every now and then for a special treat.

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Photo of yemenmocha
4.59/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Mury brown beer, like homemade apple cider. Thin head that faded quickly.

Nose is a complex Christmas spice cake. Ginger, nutmeg, and perhaps some unidentifiable berries too. Brown sugar.

Palate is brown sugary sweet with some cinnamony alcohol heat. Fig newtons. Whole wheat toast. Earthy. Wow.

Finish is tangy/sweet. I keep coming back to brown sugar.

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Photo of allengarvin
4.43/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

750ml bottle, best-before date is 2008. I've had in my fridge at least a year. Served in a Watou Bernardus chalice. Pours out very dark brown, with a half-inch rocky head. Very good lacing on the glass. Nose is ripely vinous, spicy, with notes of licorice and plum. Good roasted malt flavor initially, with hints of many others, mocha, plum, caramalized apple, all blended wonderfully together. Bitterness is clearly apparent but balanced very well. Finishes with a fair acidity and a prolonged after-taste. Plenty of carbonation, but the body remains surprisingly light for the strength.

One of the greatest of the quadrupels.

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St. Bernardus Abt 12 from Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV
4.42 out of 5 based on 9,397 ratings.
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